Monday, 25 January 2010
I spent quite a lot of time last year exploring repetition in daily ritual and rites of passage both personal and religious, and the transformation of the material object from something ‘ordinary’ to something ‘special’ during this process. Ritual, in my mind, acknowledges and exposes our humanity and weaknesses causing us to submit to a greater or unknown power and seeking a transformation. The ritual act/performance tends to be mimetic and I have found it interesting to consider my own experiences in this area, of baptism, the holy sacraments, confession and pilgramage/retreat and how the bible calls us to mimic Christ in these and other actions and rituals.
The French anthropologist Rene Girard explores the themes of mimetic desire and the role of the scapegoat in ritual in his books 'Violence and the Sacred' and 'The Scapegoat'. Whilst listening to the shared conversations in Storiesofcloth, we discovered time and time again that the use of a red thread holds protective powers within many cultures, religions and myths.
The symbolism of red thread acts as a carrier of meaning and metaphor for the blood of the scapegoat and can be traced back to many biblical stories as well as myths and legends. My practical art work is currently using this notion of the red thread; I have begun to fold the pages of old prayer books, as a ritual act, that is both a repetitive and contemplative process that induces a kind of liminal space in my spirit whilst working. I have then used red threads to stitch the pages into place to signify the link between violence, sacred and beauty within the everyday.